Game Thirteen – Cubs 1 Mets 6
WP – Fernando Nieve (1-1, BS 1) LP – James Russell (0-1) Save – None
Nine hits, five walks and a hit batsman but only one run. The Cubs slipped to a season-low three games under .500 with their third loss in a row. Lou Piniella’s new lineup hit the ball early on but could not string any hits together. The Cubs stranded eight runners in the first five innings and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. For the night, Lou Piniella’s crew left 12 on base … and was an underachieving 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
The Cubs managed only one extra base hit, a one-out double by Alfonso Soriano in the second that should have been a triple. Soriano “admired his work” and did not run out of the box.
Randy Wells was solid once again. Wells allowed one run on six hits in six innings with two walks and five strikeouts. The Mets only run off Wells came in the fifth after back-to-back two-out singles by Alex Cora and Jon Niese. Wells then issued a four-pitch walk to Angel Pagan that loaded the bases. Luis Castillo drove in Cora with an infield single to Ryan Theriot behind second base. Wells struck out David Wright to get out of the jam.
The Cubs tied the game in the sixth with a little help from the Mets defense. Marlon Byrd (3-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Geovany Soto with a two-out infield single. But the Mets batted around in the bottom of the seventh and put the game away.
James Russell hit pinch-hitter Jose Reyes on a 0-2 pitch then served up a two-run homer to Angel Pagan a batter later that broke-up the 1-1 tie. The Mets tacked on three more in the seventh off of Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall. Aramis Ramirez’s error extended the inning and Sean Marshall’s wild pitch allowed the Mets’ sixth run to cross the plate.
As Pat Hughes accurately noted, the Cubs road trip started on a negative note. There were not too many positives on Monday night. The Cubs had plenty of chances to put runs on the board. They appeared to go through the motions and with the exceptions of Randy Wells and Marlon Byrd, did not show any desire to be on the field.
Marlon Byrd was hit in the head in the ninth inning. Byrd’s helmet came off but Byrd picked up his helmet and ran to first base.
The Cubs slipped to 5-8 with Monday’s loss and are just 2-5 on the road on the young season … The Cubs had baserunners in each of the first five innings. Jeff Baker singled in the first and was stranded. Alfonso Soriano doubled and Ryan Theriot was intentionally walked in the second … and was stranded. Marlon Byrd led off the third with a single to left but Jeff Baker grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Following Xavier Nady’s lead off single in the fourth and Alfonso Soriano’s single to right, the Cubs had runners on first and third with one out. Geovany Soto looked at strike three on a 3-2 pitch … and Ryan Theriot did not swing the bat on a called third strike.
Randy Wells led off the fifth with a single to left … the third inning in a row the Cubs put the leadoff hitter on base. Marlon Byrd singled to center and Jeff Baker grounded out to third. Byrd broke up the double play and allowed Baker to reach. Derrek Lee walked to load the bases with one out.
Xavier Nady struck out swinging and Aramis Ramirez grounded out to David Wright to end the inning. The Cubs hitters continue to refuse to change their approach at the plate. Several are swinging from their heals and trying to hit every pitch out of the park.
The Cubs finally got on the board in the sixth. Down 1-0, Geovany Soto walked with one out. Ryan Theriot struck out swinging but Randy Wells reached on an infield single. David Wright could not field the grounder in the hole cleanly, Alex Cora threw the ball low, Ike Davis could not scoop and Soto ended up at third on the error.
Jerry Manuel lifted Jon Niese and brought in Fernando Nieve.
Marlon Byrd hit a smash up the middle that went off of Nieve to Luis Castillo. The always-hustling Marlon Byrd beat the throw. Soto scored and tied the game at one. Jeff Baker tapped back to the mound to end the inning.
The seventh inning was chalked full of errors and poor play.
James Russell replaced Randy Wells, after Wells had thrown only 93 pitches. Jose Reyes hit for Alex Cora and looked bad on the first two pitches of the at bat. Russell then hit Reyes on the next pitch.
Gary Matthews, Jr. struck out swinging for the first out.
Angel Pagan gave the Mets the lead for good on a 0-1 pitch from Russell. Pagan’s two-run homer over the wall in left center was the beginning of the end. Russell retired Luis Castillo but Piniella brought in Jeff Samardzija to face David Wright.
Samardzija got ahead of Wright 0-2 before walking him on the sixth pitch of the at bat. Wright stole second and scored on a double to left by Jason Bay. Samardzija threw a fastball right down main street that Bay ripped off the wall in left. Wright scored, 4-1 Mets.
Jeff Francoeur reached on an error by Aramis Ramirez to extend the inning.
Piniella went to the pen for Sean Marshall.
In his big league debut, Ike Davis recorded his second hit of the game and first career RBI with a single to right center. Jason Bay scored, 5-1. Marshall then uncorked a wild pitch with Rob Barajas at the plate. Soto could not block the ball and Francoeur scored on the miscue.
Carlos Zambrano will face Mike Pelfrey on Tuesday night in game two of the four game series.